Earlier this year in March, Uncle Tetsu caused quite a bit of commotion with the 40-minute line ups for these fluffy puffs of joy. We decided to venture downtown and see what the buzz was all about and of course, when we arrived we were greeted with a seemingly small line up. Roughly 25 people in front of us which didn’t seem so bad initially until we realized that only 2 of the 3 ovens used to bake the cheesecakes were being used. Let’s do the math.. each oven bakes up to 12 cakes and each cake takes approximately 45 minutes to bake.. Now that’s starting to paint a beautiful picture, huh?
The bakery opened at 11:00 AM and we left after lunch arriving around 1:30 PM on a Saturday afternoon. Let me tell you.. there really isn’t a “time” for cheesecake, I didn’t expect there to be a line up so early in the afternoon but the news articles really weren’t bluffing! While standing in the line up, we overhead some people behind us saying it was actually their third time lining up since Uncle Tetsu’s opening – WHAT? I mean, generally I can wait for good food but honestly standing outside in the blistering cold (it was early April and we all know that in Toronto early April really means late Fall) wasn’t my fancy. The bakery is relatively tiny with a small baking capacity and so if you end up lining up and waiting, it’s a pretty painful wait considering you’re standing still without even inching a step until the batch is done baking (remember, each batch is only 12 cakes) and people start moving.
Mind you, while you’re waiting the door is open and you’re smelling the buttery batter goodness.. I actually found myself getting rather full just by the fragrance. It was like I was ingesting the cake through my nostrils… When we finally got close enough to walk into the bakery, you can see the staff busily baking away with their little t-shirt chef uniform and bright red baking caps.
Anyways, after 1 hour and 45 minutes, we finally got our delightful cheesecakes! Remember, cheesecakes are limited to one-person per cheesecake so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you commit to the line! We ended up buying some Madeleine cakes as well because we watched them bake like 3 batches while we were waiting and we really couldn’t resist.. I mean, hey, we lined up so long anyhow might as well buy as much as you can eat! After paying, we walked to the Atrium just around the corner and cut a slice of the steaming, hot, fresh cheesecake and it was so fresh it had the consistency of pudding! We ended up taking the rest back home and putting it in the fridge, took it out later in the evening and it was much better. It’s hard to describe but it’s a very different texture than your traditional New York style cheesecake. Japanese cheesecake is very airy and light, still sweet but definitely not overpowering.
I suppose what sets this Japanese cheesecake apart from the ones you can find at Asian supermarkets is the little Uncle Tetsu logo that is freshly printed onto each cake. So what’s the verdict? I think the cake was delicious – it was fluffy and airy but still kept the creaminess as well. In all honesty, the cake was delicious and at $10 a cake you can’t really go wrong. Was it worth the wait? I probably wouldn’t line up again if I knew it was going to take that long. If you’re naturally an impatient person like myself, the wait is probably what’s going to give it a lower score.. I mean, time is precious and I clearly don’t have enough time on the weekends to be standing up and lining up for cheesecake. So out of 10 points, I would give it 8 for taste and texture but minus 2 points for the wait-time and pretty much getting overwhelmed by smelling the batter for over an hour. You’d be surprised how smelling something for that period of time almost makes you get sick of it.
Hopefully Uncle Tetsu will consider opening up other locations or are able to better accommodate the high demand. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if this is just a hype since it’s newly opened or if the interest will continue to last, BUT if you haven’t tried it I would say it’s definitely worth a shot however consider yourself warned if you’ve got to wait! I’m sure with the warmer weather on it’s way, the wait will probably be much longer..
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Thanks for reading!